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Paper: ALMA Observations of Anisotropic Dust Mass Loss around VY CMa
Volume: 499, Revolution in Astronomy with ALMA: The Third Year
Page: 335
Authors: O'Gorman, E.; Vlemmings, W.; Richards, A. M. S.; Baudry, A.; De Beck, E.; Decin, L.; Harper, G. M.; Humphreys, E. M.; Kervella, P.; Khouri, T.; Muller, S.
Abstract: We present high resolution ALMA Science Verification data of the continuum emission around the highly evolved oxygen-rich red supergiant VY CMa. These data enable us to study the dust in its inner circumstellar environment at a spatial resolution of 129 mas at 321 GHz and 59 mas at 658 GHz, thus allowing us to trace dust on spatial scales down to 11 R (71 AU). Two prominent dust components are detected and resolved. We find that at least 17% of the dust mass around VY CMa is located in clumps ejected within a more quiescent roughly spherical stellar wind, with a quiescent dust mass loss rate of 5×10–6 M yr-1. The anisotropic morphology of the dust indicates a continuous, directed mass loss over a few decades, suggesting that this mass loss cannot be driven by large convection cells alone.
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